Interview Age: 77
Date of Birth: 1940
Birthplace: Sakya - Khaphuchay, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1960
Profession: Farming, Herding
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 32C
Location: Albany, California, United States
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: Buddhist beliefs, childhood memories, children's games, Chinese -- oppression under, customs/traditions, farm life, food/drink, herding, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang
Lhakey was born in a small village consisting of seven families near Sakya in Utsang. She lived with her father, two mothers and seven siblings. A younger wife was added to the family in order to help with herding, while the older wife stayed at home to do the cooking and household chores. Lhakey started herding sheep at the age of 5 and explains how the adults and children cared for the sheep and watched for predators, such as wolves and martens.
Lhakey describes the food they ate and the different chores assigned to young boys and girls, such as spinning wool and making shoes. She also had time to play games with other children and demonstrates a game of tossing and catching stones. Her family owned a large farm where they grew vegetables, grains and mustard from which oil was extracted. Lhakey learned to recite Buddhist prayers and believes a devoted practice is beneficial for all sentient beings.
At the age of 18 or 19 Lhakey was married to man who worked as an attendant for Lama Kala, sister of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya. After the Chinese invaded, Lama Kala was arrested and publicly beaten many times. The villagers were forced to denounce the religious leaders and many others were imprisoned and severely beaten as well. One lama committed suicide by stuffing khata 'ceremonial scarves' down his throat. Lhakey and many of her family members managed to flee to India in 1960.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Kunga Choeden (Interpreter)
- Lobsang Thinley (Videographer)